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Big Bones Vice President Research and International, Office of the 2009-11-30

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nullInullDInullRnullInull RnullnullARnull1null FAnullnullnullnullnullnullR nullnullbinullbnullesA blue whale that once lurked in the ocean’s depths will soon live on as the centrepiece of nullC’s nulleaty nulliodiversity nulluseum and a testament to the connection between humans and leviathans.The skeleton of the nullnulletrenullong  whale will serve as an icon of biodiversity,  a gigantic poster child reminding us that  even the world’s largest creature can be threatened with enullinction. The blue whale skeleton display will be the largest in Canada and one of only sinullsuch enullibits  in nullorth nullerica.nulllue whales inhabit both the nullacinull and nulltlantic nullceans. nullC’s specimen beached and died on nullrince nulldward nullsland in nullnull and the Canadian nulluseum of nullature arranged for its remains to be buried in situ to help render the carcass into a skeleton. nullnullumed in null0null the skeleton’s preparation and reassembly has been overseen by nullrof. nulldrew nullrites, a biodiversity researcher and nullirector of the nullarine nullammal nullesearch nullnit at nullC’s nullisheries Centre. nullespite their enormous sinulle and range, little is known about these gentle giants. nullsing Cnullnullunded enullipment at the nullancouver nullnullarium, where nullrites conducts some of his research, he and nullnullarium researchers took nullrays of one of the null0nullg nullppers. nullt was the nullst time a nullpper had been so closely enullmined, and the images he obtained were eerily familiar.nullt is startling, even to enullerienced researchers, to see how similar their bone structure is to us humans,nullsays nullrites. nullt’s like you’re looking at a huge, distorted human hand.nullnullichael denulloos, a master skeleton articulator and former student of nullrites, is preparing the skeleton for display – a difnull nullult and appronullmate task that involves working from a bucket of bones. The information from the nullray will help scinull entists better understand the mammal’s structure and provides a blueprint for the nullppers’ reassembly. nullome to the nullC nullisheries Centre, the nullnullatic nullcosystems nullesearch nullboratory nullnullnull building is nenull door to the nulluseum and features an atrium display of skeletons of a minke whale, a killer whale, two nullteller sea lions, and three nullacinull whitenullided dolphins. nullnulle can do good research in huts,nullsays nullrites, referring to the aging army huts donated to nullC following the nullecond nullorld nullar that have historically accommodated marine and nullheries researchers. nullut our new facilities bring us all together, enable discussion and allow the public to hear about and see research nullstnulland.nullThe marine mammal display in the nullnull building is made possible through support from nulletronullanada. nullnull has received manullr support from the Canada nulloundation for nullnnovation and the nullC. nullovernment.Photo > Courtesnullonullnulldrew nullrites

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